Daily Reform, 1 John 3:1-7
From the Reformer
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts. In the early Church the Holy Spirit was sent forth in visible form. He descended upon Christ in the form of a dove (Mt 3:16), and in the likeness of fire upon the apostles and other believers (Ac 2:3). This visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit was necessary to the establishment of the early Church, as were also the miracles that accompanied the gift of the Holy Ghost. Paul explained the purpose of these miraculous gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14:22. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” Once the Church had been established and properly advertised by these miracles, the visible appearance of the Holy Ghost ceased.
Next, the Holy Ghost is sent forth into the hearts of the believers, as here stated, “God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.” This sending is accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel through which the Holy Spirit inspires us with fervor and light, with new judgment, new desires, and new motives. This happy innovation is not a derivative of reason or personal development, but solely the gift and operation of the Holy Ghost.
This renewal by the Holy Spirit may not be conspicuous to the world, but it is patent to us by our better judgment, our improved speech, and our unashamed confession of Christ. Formerly we did not confess Christ to be our only merit, as we do now in the light of the Gospel. Why, then, should we feel bad if the world looks upon us as ravagers of religion and insurgents against constituted authority? We confess Christ and our conscience approves of it.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (4:6)
Pulling It Together
God forgives us and redeems us unto heaven. But the Father does more; he makes you his child—a member of his own family. God makes you a child of the kingdom. But the Father does more; he fills you with his Holy Spirit so that you have the conscience and the power to live as a child of his kingdom. Ask of God and he answers—with more than you asked!
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers